News and Press



22 December


Lake ComoOne of our favourite places to visit is Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy, although I don’t want to sound like a travel agent. Along the way, while driving through the mountain range in northern Italy, a number of tiny little Christian and secular or fantasy ‘shrines’ with religious or secular storybook character figurines have been built into the side of the heavily wooded mountains.

I can understand if the religious ‘shrines’ are for travelers to pray for safety on the dangerous mountain road but how does one explain the secular ones? I was quite intrigued by these and it added an extra layer of cultural interest to the journey.


Lake Como is a most beautiful place, although I feel it is usually ‘clouded’ – perhaps by pollution from industry in northern Italy. The lake area is generously accented with classical Italian details, such as the classic Italian urn in the photo or beautiful, Italian villas scattered around the lake where I photographed this urn. I found the urn charmingly Italian. I hope you enjoy it.


For me, the photo of the urn was also a celebration of life, as driving through the Italian Alps on the way there we approached an extremely tight corner on a downward mountain slope. When very close to the corner five speeding motorcyclists leaning deeply ‘in’, ‘whooshed’ around the corner – on the wrong side (our side) of the mountain road. They came at us, almost ‘lying on their sides’ flying around the tight mountain bend – missing our windscreen by seconds and turning sharply away at the last second. He was so close I could see the expression of shock on the lead driver’s face. The line between life and death for all of us – was so close. We will never forget it. For some seconds the airborne riders, – looked as if they were going to land in our laps via the windscreen.


However, there obviously wasn’t enough room in our front seat for another five– and their motorbikes! The locals said there many, many deaths every year on that road as the cyclists imagine they are professional racing bike riders. Perhaps the tiny Christian shrines were there, to pray that the traveler didn’t run into motorcyclists on the wrong side of the road?

Part of my reason for visiting the area is to explore a traditional Italian jewellery shop with exquisite, beautiful pieces of carved Mediterranean coral and buying old Italian cameos (carved from shells) to include in my jewellery designs. Many of the pieces are very old. For the artistic person, art historian and designer, it is truly a joy!

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